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Taken from Missoulian (July 01, 2014)

Former Grizzly in cancer treatment, Franti connect before Missoula concert

by Alice Miller

Former Montana Grizzlies football player Cole Lockwood chats with musician
Michael Franti before he takes the stage at Big Sky Brewing Co.
on Tuesday evening.

When Cole Lockwood “plugs in” for chemotherapy treatments for testicular cancer, he also plugs in headphones and listens to music to lift his spirits.

“I’m just a huge music fan. That’s what I do when I’m at chemo, is listen to music,” the 25-year-old former Montana Grizzlies football player said.

On Tuesday, Lockwood met Michael Franti, one of the musicians who has streamed through his headphones during treatment, in person.

“He’s just a normal, laid-back guy – just an awesome human being,” Lockwood said before Franti’s performance for Big Sky Brewing Co.’s summer concert series.

Although he had not listened to much of Franti’s music other than on the radio before learning he would meet the singer, Lockwood became a fast fan of Franti’s upbeat, positive tunes and his efforts to improve others’ lives.

“I think I’ll just be a fan of his forever now,” Lockwood said.

Michael Franti and Sarah Agah founded the Do It for the Love Foundation
that connected Lockwood and his family with Franti on Tuesday

The meeting between Franti and Lockwood was facilitated through Community Medical Center and the Do It for the Love Foundation, which Franti created last year with partner Sara Agah after meeting a fan with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and seeing the impact music had in his life. The foundation works to connect people with serious illnesses, children with severe disabilities and wounded veterans with their favorite musicians.

Tuesday’s meeting with Franti and Agah was a welcome distraction for Lockwood and his family.

“You just can enjoy the summer and pretend like you’re back to the land of the living,” said Lockwood’s mom Pam, a cancer survivor who relaxed before the show with her son and other family members in an RV donated for the evening by Bretz RV & Marine.

The family hasn’t made many summer plans, instead opting to wait and see how Lockwood feels each day.

“So this was a gift. It’s really a gift,” said Pam, a Franti fan herself.

Lockwood said he wishes he could reach more people like Franti has through Do It for the Love and help others like Missoulians have supported him in recent months.

“Just because I would like to give back like you,” he told Franti.

Others’ stories have helped prepare them for the challenges they now face in their own lives, Franti said, adding that his son was recently diagnosed with an incurable kidney disorder and Agah’s mom is battling breast cancer.

“It’s really inspiring to hear other people’s stories,” Agah told Lockwood.

The opportunity to impact others’ lives is why Franti is a musician and why he created Do It for the Love, he said.

Music, whether it’s heard through headphones or live, is healing and offers an opportunity to change people’s lives for the better, Franti said.

“It’s the same experience of opening your heart and letting emotions come out that might not otherwise,” he said.

Lockwood agreed.

“It’s like medicine. It really is because it just puts you in that state of mind you want to be in,” he said.


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